George Burns, live at the Fountain Hills Theater. Well, OK, its Peter J. Hill doing an extraordinary job of playing George. The expressions, the mannerisms, the timing, the cigar, even the accent, are pure George Burns. So is the humor. We laughed until tears came to our eyes.
The Fountain Hills Theater is finally back to indoor performances after over a year of innovative live performances on a portable stage in the parking lot, keeping the audiences safe from COVID. For this indoor performance, the theater requires that you show proof of vaccination or wear a mask. As good as those outdoor shows were, it was an additional treat to be sitting in the theater with a live interactive audience.
“Say Goodnight, Gracie” takes you down memory lane from the initial shaky start of George Burns’ vaudeville career, to his 100th birthday. Along the way, fate intervenes when George is introduced to a vivacious and talented young girl, Gracie Allen. They teamed up and, after George decides that Gracie was the funny one, they become stars in vaudeville, then on to radio and then television. Their weekly TV show was a riot and their humor is as fresh today. After the loss of Gracie, George reinvented himself and went on to success with movies like “The Sunshine Boys” and “Oh, God.”
If you love George Burns and Gracie Allen, or even if you have never heard of them, you will love this production. Peter J. Hill’s one-man tour de force is worthy of a Tony, or Arizona’s equivalent, the Arizoni. Don’t miss it.
“Say Goodnight, Gracie” is playing Thursdays through Sundays until Sept 5.